Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers game preview
TV: FOX Sports Florida
Time: Pregame coverage begins at 5:30 p.m.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers will ring in the new year by hosting the Orlando Magic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers will be going up against former coach Frank Vogel for the second time this season. Vogel coached the Pacers for seven seasons, and led them to two Eastern Conference Finals appearances.
Indiana always had a strong defensive identity under Vogel, so it was only fitting that they delivered their best defensive performance of the season when facing him earlier this year, winning 89-69.
Indiana (16-18) snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Jeff Teague made only 2-of-13 shots from the field, but still might have been the game’s MVP.
Teague dished out a career-high 17 assists, including six in the first eight minutes of the game to set the tone.
“We played as a team and moved the ball really well,” Teague said. “Guys were getting open and knocking down shots. We’ve got to continue to play like we did tonight.”
Paul George delivered in the clutch, and scored a game-high 32 points. He’s heating up, scoring over 30 points in consecutive games.
“It was good to get off to a fast start and make the other team play catch-up instead of us,” George said. “Trying to chip away at the lead all the time gets exhausting.”
The match-up down low will be a key in this game.
Myles Turner of the Pacers and Serge Ibaka of the Magic are two of the best shot-blockers in the game. Myles Turner has blocked at least one shot in 22 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA.
The Magic and Pacers are ranked in the top seven in the NBA in blocked shots per game.
The Magic (15-19) have been playing better of late, winning five of their last eight games. They lost their previous game, however, to the Charlotte Hornets, 120-101 in Orlando.
“We went stone cold,” Coach Frank Vogel told ESPN.com. “If you can’t beat them from the perimeter, you’re going to have a long night. Those guys are really sharp.”
They Magic has had three days off to prepare for this game, and are hoping to start finding some consistency.
“One or two games we show flashes, and then we drop off,” Ibaka told NBA.com. “We’ve got to be more consistent than we’ve been. We know that we can be a lot better.”
Indiana is 12-5 at home, but the Magic actually played better in road games (8-8).
This will be the second of four meetings between these teams this season. The final two games will both be played in Orlando on Feb. 1 and April 8.
The Pacers will be without Rodney Stuckey (left hamstring strain), and Evan Fournier is listed as questionable for the Magic (right heel contusion).
Being a holiday, it will be an earlier start, tipping off 6 p.m.